The Fourth Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers for Science and Technology was held in Manila, Philippines on 30 – 31 January 1989.

The Meeting was attended by H.E. Pg. Dato Dr. Hj. Ismail Pg. Haji Damit, Minister of Development, Brunei Darussalam; H.E. Prof. Dr. Ing. B.J. Habibie, Minister of State for Research and Technology, Indonesia; H.E. Datuk Amar Stephen K.T. Yong, Minister of Science, Technology and the Environment, Malaysia; H.E. Dr. Antonio V. Arizabal, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, Philippines; H.E. Mr. Mah Bow Tan, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Singapore; H. E. Mr. Prachuab Chaiyasan, Minister of Science, Technology, and Energy, Thailand; and delegates from ASEAN countries.

H.E. Mr. Roderick Yong, Secretary-General, ASEAN Secretariat, Dr. Apriliani Soegiarto, on behalf of the Chairman, ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology, and Dr. Filemon A. Uriarte, Jr., Director, Bureau of Science and Technology, ASEAN Secretariat, were also in attendance.

Prior to the Meeting, the Ministers and their delegations attended the opening of the Second ASEAN Science and Technology Week which was officiated by H.E. Corazon C. Aquino, President of the Republic of the Philippines.

H.E. Dr. Antonio V. Arizabal, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology, delivered the opening address. In his address, he welcomed the delegates to the Fourth Meeting of ASEAN Ministers for Science and Technology and observed that the Meeting is being held just over a year after the Third Meeting of ASEAN Heads of Government which gave prominence to ASEAN cooperation in science and technology. He noted that this made the Meeting very important and hoped that it could give the necessary policy directives to enhance the utilization of science and technology for economic development.

H.E. Raul Manglapus, Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs, delivered the Keynote Address.

H.E. Dr. Antonio V. Arizabal, Philippines, and H.E. Mr. Mah Bow Tan, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Singapore were elected Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Meeting, respectively.

The Meeting reviewed the progress of the implementation of the relevant decisions of the Third Meeting of ASEAN Heads of Government and agreed to request the ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology to continue to monitor, with the assistance of the ASEAN Secretariat, the progress of the implementation of the relevant decisions.

The Meeting adopted the ASEAN Plan of Action on Science and Technology (Plan) which sets the following objective: To strengthen and enhance the capability of ASEAN in science and technology so that it can promote economic development and help achieve a high quality of life for the peoples of ASEAN.

The Meeting agreed to implement the Plan based on the following policy guidelines:

  • Cooperation among its member countries in the field of science and technology shall emphasize the following areas: food, biotechnology, microelectronics and computers, materials science and technology, non-conventional energy, marine sciences, meteorology and geophysics, remote sensing, and the development of science and technology infrastructure and resources.

  • Technology transfer and the commercialization of research results shall be encouraged with a view to promoting investments in ASEAN.

  • Human resources development shall be emphasized in order to have an intelligent and productive workforce capable of responding to rapid global scientific and technological advancement and consistent with the development of ASEAN’s creativity in science and technology.

  • Scientific and technical information dissemination and exchange shall be intensified, as well as, the cooperation in the development of software and hardware components of information technology.

To achieve the objective of the Plan, the following strategic plan and actions will be pursued:

  • To intensify cooperation in science and technology : strong and well-coordinated regional research and development projects will be implemented in the priority areas identified in the policy guidelines, especially in biotechnology, materials science, microelectronics, and new energy sources.

  • To widen involvement and increase participation and cooperation among the scientists and researchers of member countries : three regional research networks in biotechnology, materials science, and microelectronics, one regional institutional network in meteorology and geophysics, and two network-line linkages on food data and technological information will be established.

  • To maintain a high level of scientific and technological expertise and, in the process, develop an intelligent workforce in a rapidly changing and highly competitive world: ASEAN centers of excellence, as well as science parks, will be identified and established in respective member countries.

  • To promote technology transfer and the commercialization of research results; pilot plants, demonstration plants, and the like will be constructed and operated.

  • To ensure human resources development for promoting scientific, technological, and economic development; regional conferences, workshops, seminars, training programmes, and the ASEAN Science and Technology Week will be conducted.

  • To provide an overall awareness in ASEAN on the strategic role that science and technology plays in economic development : dissemination and exchange of information, as well as scientific visits, and exchange of researchers will be intensified.

To emphasize the importance of R & D, the Meeting agreed to set up an ASEAN Science Fund for the purpose of implementing R & D programmes as may be identified by ASEAN COST. Towards that end, the Ministers agreed that a voluntary contribution of US$ 50,000 be made by each ASEAN member country. Efforts will be made to solicit the Dialogue Partners to contribute to this Fund.

The Meeting took note of the progress made in ASEAN cooperation in science and technology with ASEAN dialogue partners in the field of food science and technology, non-conventi6nal energy, environment, climatology, marine sciences, biotechnology, microelectronics, and materials science and urged the ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology to further intensify these cooperative efforts.

The Ministers were pleased with the successful organization of the Second ASEAN Science and Technology Week (SASTW) and expressed its gratitude to the Philippine Government for providing direct financial support to SASTW in the amount of Pesos 1.9 million.

The Fifth Meeting of ASEAN Ministers for Science and Technology will be held in Singapore in conjunction with the Third ASEAN Science and Technology Week in 1992.

The delegates from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, as well as the ASEAN Secretariat, expressed their sincere appreciation to the Government and the people of the Philippines for the warm hospitality accorded them and the excellent arrangements made for the Meeting.

The Meeting was held in the traditional spirit of ASEAN cordiality and solidarity.